In late 1977 I was transferred in my job to Ballina and for most of my time there I lived on Shelly Beach Road in a flat with a few other guys that either worked in the CBC Bank with me or with one of the other banks in Ballina. As an 18 year old living directly opposite the beach it was a great time and we would often go across the road to have a swim. It was a popular beach, being on the northern side of the headland.
The day I returned was very windy and not as warm as it usually is. The water was rough to say the least so I didn’t venture too far into the water. Back when I was living there I don’t think we gave sharks a second thought. In recent years there have been numerous shark attacks in the Ballina area, including Shelley Beach, and in 2015 Ballina had the dubious title as the shark capital of Australia. After several fatalities and attacks, shark nets were installed at the main beaches but were removed in 2018 over fears they could pose a risk to migrating whales who travel through the area in their mating season.